How the Ravens can still make the playoffs and even win the AFC North

Ravens, Josh Johnson
Ravens, Josh Johnson /

The Baltimore Ravens lost in embarrassing fashion to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16 in a game that was never really fair from the start.

In fact, you could easily make the case that the team that lost by a final score of 41-21 wasn’t the Ravens, but rather a group of individuals wearing Ravens uniforms. Nonetheless, it doesn’t make the pain of the loss sting any less.

The Ravens have fallen to 8-7 following four straight losses and suddenly find themselves clinging onto the seventh seed in the AFC. If the Miami Dolphins beat the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, the Ravens will be on the outside looking in.

While things may look bleak at the moment, the Ravens can still make the playoffs. In fact, there’s even a scenario where they can still win the AFC North. As we’ve learned in the NFL this season, truly anything can happen.

But how? What is the Ravens’ path to the postseason?

The Ravens need a little help to make the playoffs

Unfortunately, the Ravens do not currently control their own destiny. Even if they win their remaining two games, they’ll still need a little help to make it to the postseason.

Assuming the Ravens win out, they will need the Dolphins to lose one of their final three games (against the Saints, Titans, and Patriots) and the Las Vegas Raiders to lose one of their last two games (against the Colts and Chargers).

If all three of those things happen, the Ravens are still in the playoffs. It sounds complicated, but if the Ravens find a way to beat the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers to close out their season, they will likely make it.

Now, if they lose one of those two games, they’ll need a lot more help to make it at 9-8, but it is possible. The string of events that could make that possible, however, is too long to list out here. We can wait a week to revisit that — the tiebreakers are a bit too complex to be reasonable right now.

But what about the division? How can the Ravens still win the AFC North? That scenario is rather simple.

The Ravens need to win their final two games while they need the Bengals to lose their final two games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. Unlikely? Sure. But it certainly is possible.

The Ravens’ postseason chances might just depend on their health. Can Lamar Jackson return in time for Week 17? Can they return at least a few players from the COVID-19 list? Will the secondary be able to survive so many absences?

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Those are the questions the Ravens will need to answer over the final two weeks. But at the very least, their postseason hopes are far from over.